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Once,his party emasculated the Superintendent of Police. Akhilesh must signal change to his goons

Once,his party emasculated the Superintendent of Police. Akhilesh must signal change to his goons

In speech after speech in his long and successful campaign for Uttar Pradesh,Akhilesh Yadav,Mulayam Singh Yadav’s son and the Samajwadi Party’s president in UP,choreographer-in-chief of his party’s bid for power,admitted it had made mistakes on the law-and-order front in its last stint in Lucknow and pledged it wouldn’t happen again. The SP had taken care to weed out history-sheeters from its list of candidates,Akhilesh would emphasise,and if they took the law into their hands,its government would not hesitate to take action against its own. It is doubtful whether his audiences of young men,restless and impatient to taste the spoils of power,heeded that message. But the SP’s time starts now. Once it decides on its chief minister,action must immediately be ordered against the goons who have run amok in the wake of the party’s famous victory. And then it must get down to ensuring ruling party cadres cannot count on the administration turning a blind eye to such rampages ever again. All other promises can wait. To begin with,in its new regime,the SP must empower the other SP.

The emasculation of the superintendent of police was a defining feature of the last Mulayam government. In what has been described as its “goonda raj”,the independence and efficacy of the police administration was systematically chipped away to ensure political bosses held sway. For the aam aadmi,if he fell out of political favour,there was no recourse as the thana was virtually outsourced to ruling party toughies and strongmen. When Mayawati was voted to power in 2007,her mandate came riding not on the back of the innovative “social engineering” attributed to the BSP chief,but on the widely shared revulsion against a regime that

had failed to honour that basic promise a government makes to the people — to ensure the safety and security of all.

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Beginnings matter. The new SP chief minister must remember this. Also,everything depends on law-and-order. If the right political message is not sent out now,the SP government would have lost the opportunity to build on the goodwill that has come its way. In the months and years to come,UP’s new government will be called upon to tackle large challenges on the development front. But strict adherence to the rule of law must start today.

First published on: 10-03-2012 at 00:01 IST
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